Church Planting eXperience (CPX) has worked it’s magic again. 30 souls came from all over – Malawi, Zimbabwe, South Africa, USA and Zambia – to teach and to learn practical tools for catalyzing Jesus movements. Some were illiterate village leaders, some women school teachers, some young Zambian or American interns, and some pastors of established churches – but all hungry for truth and growth. We lived and learned and worshiped together for 21 days, and we leave today with new paradigms, new tools, and new ways of seeing the scriptures and ministry. We are not the same!
We are not content to start a church or two in the needy places. We are not content even to start one every year! We want to start a movement that will begin an infection that spreads spontaneously from village to village without outside control or support.
Munyaradzi Hove – our fellow All Nations worker from just across the border in Zimbabwe – has such a movement growing – over 400 house churches now, and he leads none, no full time supported workers, all simple churches led by the local people who gather in a home with neighbors, or in a shop with other shop owners, or at a school with students…. The good news is spreading among the poor and the outcast sinners that this is a place they can find Real Church Life – and they can’t keep quiet about it! And so it spreads.
In our classes we have learned how to go to the people (finding the person of peace) rather than try to get them to come to the church – to start a group in the sinner’s house with her friends. And we do things very simply so that it may be easily learned by the host. Within a few weeks the host is leading it and word is spreading because each person is intentionally challenged to tell someone – people are coming. We have learned how to tell simple bible stories that carry the essence of the gospel, but are easily memorized and spread around from person to person. We learn how to tell our own story in 3 min. We learned to distinguish between a small bible study and a church – whether they are doing the basic essentials of church or not. We have learned how to lead a group into obedience by focusing on the 7 commands of Christ and inviting people into immediate obedience. These are the church planting principles that are widely recognized as essential for cpm’s to grow.
Aaron Mulenga – our Love’s Door captain in the north of Zambia – also has the makings of a movement. There are around 40 house churches and it is growing. But we have found that because many of them still depend on outside leadership to provide all the functions of a church, it cannot multiply beyond the capacity of the church workers. In order for fast growing groups like this to become a real movement, new paradigms are needed. Leaders should not preach or do the ministry. Rather they equip the members to baptize, to take communion, to tithe and agree where the money will be spent. They may not even have a biblical elder in their group, or a seasoned bible trained teacher – but like Paul so often did – he allowed them to season for a time and then he came back and set in elders.
On the last night of the class we did not graduate anybody. They are all just beginning to learn! Instead we commissioned everyone. In fact the Holy Spirit commissioned them earlier in the day, when, after a devotional study about Walking in the Spirit, we went to a brief time of prayer that turned into 45 min of spiritual intimacy which resulted in 3 spontaneous baptisms! God is working!
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Train train train. We feel more than ever the power of good training – and we need to up our ante. All our village workers need more; the Luanshya guys need more; there are other places that are asking us to come and train in their setting; and we are seeing the power of taking this condensed, super practical training to the American church too. If God puts it on your heart to join a team of trainers, or to invite a team to your church – speak up!
New Day! We have a whole new team – old partners are leaving and new ones are coming. After 6 years serving with us Mike Lungu is going to take some time to build a business and a home. Pray for God’s blessing on his endeavor. 8 new 1 year interns are lined up at the starting gate – restless to get roaring. Pray for harmony, vision, reckless obedience. Along with them we have 2 new Zambian interns who will serve for a year. Then in Aug a family w 3 kids is coming to join long term and in Oct, a young couple w the same desire! God is pouring out such a blessing on us! Pray for finances to build cottages on the base to make into real homes for kids to grow.
Chris and Karen Cornwell – Ag specialists from Oregon have just left after transforming our sterile base into a garden of produce. Pray blessings on them for their gift!
Two projects are in the prayer hopper – an education training center – mostly for after-school program with kids and adult literacy; and an adult skills center and work shop for mechanics, welding, and business training. Pray for God to breath on these projects – perhaps some church would want to send a team or fund a project – pray for God’s breath of life.